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7 things to know today, plus Florida No. 1 for foreign home buyers!

February 10th, 2016.

Did you know that foreign buyers bought more than $100 billion in U.S. real estate in the past year, with Florida accounting for 21 percent of those sales?

CNBC reports that residential real estate sales to foreign buyers between April 2014 and March 2015 totaled $104 billion — about 8 percent of total existing home sales, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
Interestingly enough, the number of homes sold was fewer than the previous year, but apparently the foreign buyers were snapping up pricier properties.
Blue Origin talks timetable on building rockets in Florida
Blue Origin on Tuesday said it expects to break ground on a Merritt Island rocket manufacturing facility before summer and that Florida is in the running to land production of its BE-4 rocket engines, Florida Today reports. The Jeff Bezos-founded company wants to launch an orbital rocket from Cape Canaveral by 2019. Its space-related activity is forecast to bring 300-plus high-paying jobs to the Space Coast and result in more than $200 million in infrastructure investment. Read more here.

Mica bill transfers Lake Baldwin nursing home to Florida VA
Florida Congressman John Mica’s bill to transfer the 120-bed nursing center at the Lake Baldwin VA medical complex from the federal government to the state of Florida has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The transfer is expected to expedite the process of re-opening the nursing care beds for Central Florida’s veterans. The Lake Baldwin nursing center, opened in 1999 as part of the VA complex, has been serving as a staging area for the new Orlando VA Medical Center since nursing patients were moved to Lake Nona last year.

“I have received concurrence from the U.S. Senate, and I hope to have the measure passed through that body to speed up the reopening of these needed nursing beds,” Mica said.

Small biz loan approval rates drop in January
Loan approval rates at both big banks and small banks dropped in January 2016, according to the Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of more than 1,000 small business loan applications on Biz2Credit.com. In addition, loan approval percentages at credit unions fell to an all-time index low. Lending approval rates at big banks ($10 billion+ in assets) declined, as they approved 22.7 percent of funding requests in January, down two-tenths of a percent from December 2015. However, a year-to-year comparison shows that lending approval rates are up 6.5 percent. Lending approval rates at small banks dropped slightly to 49 percent in January, from 49.1 percent in December. Credit unions approved 42.2 percent of loan applications in January, down from 42.3 percent the month prior.
Signature Flight Support parent completes Landmark acquisition
BBA Aviation Plc. has completed a $2.06 billion acquisition of Landmark Aviation, representing a major expansion of its Signature Flight Support unit, one of the world’s largest fixed base operation networks. Signature’s global network now includes 195 global locations located throughout North America, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. Company officials said Signature will move rapidly to rebrand all of the FBO locations as Signature Flight Support by way of a phased approach. “Today, we celebrate the successful acquisition of Landmark Aviation. We are so pleased and proud to welcome Landmark’s 3,000 global employees to the BBA Aviation and Signature Flight Support teams,” said Maria Sastre, president and COO of Orlando-based Signature Flight Support.
Daimler recalls nearly 1 million vehicles due to airbag controversy

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week notifiedDaimler AG — the parent company of Mercedes-Benz — that it has been informed about potentially defective airbags in their vehicles. The notification resulted in thousands of vehicle recalls by the German automaker. The airbag models mentioned in the recall are produced by Japanese manufacturer Takata, which are installed in many Mercedes-Benz cars and Daimler vans, according to a news release. Takata has come under fire in the last year for airbag models that explode when triggered, sending metal shell fragments toward the driver and passenger. Daimler AG has decided to recall about 705,000 Mercedes-Benz cars and 136,000 Daimler vans in the U.S.

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